DA chief: Test results on swine deaths out soon
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) will soon announce results of tests conducted on hogs that died in Rizal province, Secretary William Dar said Friday.
Reports of abnormal pig deaths in the area sparked qualms that the animals have been afflicted with the dreaded African swine fever.
The agriculture agency earlier sent pig blood samples to foreign laboratories to determine the cause of the animals’ deaths.
During the House hearing of DA’s proposed 2020 budget, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said they already received a part of the confirmatory lab test results and could announce it by Monday.
“We are still waiting for another test that will give us what type of virus or strain of the virus is now affecting the swine, the hogs. Hoping that we will receive by the weekend the second confirmatory lab test result,” Dar said.
Coinciding with the announcement of test results, Dar said DA has also organized a “boodle fight” on Monday morning to show that pork in the country is safe for consumption.
“We are inviting those who can come and join us for the boodle fight, and partake of the meat and you will be safe,” he said.
The hog deaths prompted other hog-raising provinces to take measures to keep their livestock free from disease.
DA has also ordered strict certification of live animals and processed pork products that are to be moved and traded across the country.
Meanwhile, Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Gabriel Bordado called attention to the reduced budget for DA’s national livestock program, which, he said, is the “biggest reduction.”
In 2019, DA’s budget for its livestock program was around P1.1 million but for 2020, DA is asking for only P940,861 – a 20.15 percent drop.
“This is quite unfortunate due to the widespread reports of mortality of swine in hog farms in Rodriguez, Rizal; Bulacan, together with the reported cases of avian influenza or bird flu outbreak in some parts of the country,” Bordado said.
Based on the proposed 2020 national budget, the Executive branch allotted to DA P71.8 billion for next year. But Dar said DA has asked for a budget of P333 billion for 2020. /kga
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